Greece Rulers from all over Europe at the funeral of

Greece: Rulers from all over Europe at the funeral of former King Constantine

This Monday, January 16, the crowned heads of the old continent will pay homage to the deposed king, who died last Tuesday, in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens.

Sovereigns from across Europe are due to attend the funeral of the last king of Greece, Constantine II, who died Tuesday aged 82, in Athens on Monday January 16, but no national tribute will be paid to this controversial former monarch . .

At the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens, the kings and queens of Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Norwegian Crown Prince and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg will pay their last respects to the former Greek sovereign.

Spanish and British royal families

The British royal family will be represented by Princess Anne, sister of Charles III, both cousins ​​of Constantine II, Buckingham Palace said on Friday. Greek media this weekend wondered about the possible presence of Prince William, the godson of the former King of Greece, without receiving any confirmation or denial.

The former Queen of Spain, Sophie, sister of Constantine, and her husband Juan Carlos will also be present in the Greek capital. Hundreds of people lined up outside the cathedral in the early hours of the morning to pray in front of the coffin of the deceased, which was covered with a large piece of fabric in the national colors of blue and white for the occasion. .

Undertakers transport the coffin, covered in the colors of the Greek flag, to St. Eleftherios Chapel in Athens on January 16, 2023. Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP

Between indifference and anger

The coffin will be on display for this tribute until 10am (8am Paris) in a chapel near the cathedral, while the surrounding streets are closed to traffic and promise congestion in the Greek capital’s city centre. A total of 187 guests are expected at this funeral.

Deeply republican, the vast majority of the population has vacillated between indifference and anger since the descendant of the royal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg died on Tuesday in a private hospital in Athens as a result of a stroke.

A man shows a photo of former King of Greece Constantine II as they queue to pay homage to former King of Greece Constantine II at St. Eleftherios Chapel in Athens January 16, 2023. ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFPPeople wait to pay their respects to former Greek King Constantine II at St. Eleftherios Chapel in Athens January 16, 2023. Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP

Prime Minister and Head of State absent

The day after Constantine’s death, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the funeral would be private. Neither he nor current head of state Katerina Sakellaropoulou will attend the funeral of a deposed king in 1974 during the restoration of the republic after the dark period of the dictatorship of the colonels (1967-1974).

In Athens, only the flags were lowered around the Panathenaic Stadium, the ancient stadium in the Greek capital renovated for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. In 1960 Constantin won a gold medal in sailing at the Olympic Games in Rome. He was also an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A photograph of former Greek King Constantine II and his wife Anne-Marie hangs on the national flag as they queue to pay homage at St. Eleftherios Chapel in Athens January 16, 2023. Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP

old wounds

After the Orthodox religious ceremony, he will be buried privately at the former royal residence at Tatoi, north of Athens, where most of the former members of the royal family are buried, including King George I, the first of the Danish dynasty to ascend the Greek throne in 1863. The death of the ex-monarch, who had lived in exile for around forty years, revived old wounds in Greece, particularly about his role during the dictatorship (1967-1974).

Criticized for failing to prevent the junta from taking power at the time, Constantin had left Greece in 1968 and lived in London for forty years before returning to his country in 2013 and continuing to call himself “king”. The monarchy in Greece was abolished in a 1974 referendum that officially deposed Constantine II with a 70% majority.

Constantin Glücksburg, as some media refer to him without mentioning his former royal title, has long fought in court with the Greek state, which had confiscated royal property. In 1994 he was stripped of his citizenship and lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights to get his property back. In 2002, he sentenced Greece to pay the royal family 14 million euros.

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